Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.
Just four years ago, my life looked very different, things were not perfect, but “I” could manage it. I was doing my own thing, training for my 3rd triathlon it was April 2017. I loved the feeling of strengthening my body, pushing it to its limits. Training was something I did 6 days a week no matter what, or no matter where. And in that was much pride. Yes, I loved the Lord, I spent time with Him. But, He knew there could be more, He could see what I could not.
One spring morning, I woke up with a case of poison ivy. This was nothing unusual, I have had it every year since I was a child. But, as much as I remember, I had never had it on my neck. But this day I was looking in the mirror at this red streak of bumps across my throat, itching like crazy. So, I got out my tubes of itch relievers, and began to rub it on my neck. As I was rubbing, I felt a small knot in my neck beneath the skin. Just a passing observation, no big deal. After several days of this it seemed the knot was growing. A couple of weeks later I made a doctors appointment.
By the time I saw him, you could see the lump in my throat. He sent me straight to get a cat scan. Two days later wanted to see me, that got my attention. He wanted me to see a surgeon and have this removed immediately. From then until I saw the surgeon, it tripled in size, now the size of a golf ball. But, after seeing a thyroid surgeon and radiologist that specialized in this, they determined it was benign, and decided to not do surgery. I saw another doctor who used iodine to shrink it to a third it’s size. But, in the meantime, my thyroid quit functioning. I was very weak, tired, didn’t have the strength to run or workout at all. After a year, I finally got back to exercising again slowly trying to get back to where I had been, but every time I did something happened to set me back.
In July 2019, I was getting in my car to go to church, as I sat down, pain shot from my hip, to my foot. I had never experienced anything like it. I ended up laying flat in the floor all day. From there it was chiropractors, doctors, injections, treatments, massage, anything to get relief, but it never lasted. I had numbness in my leg and foot. Months at a time I would rest my back. My husband had to do all the vacuuming and mopping, I couldn’t lift anything. After one last treatment, we all realized it wasn’t working. At the end of the 10 week of rest, I and my husband got Covid.
My husband has heart and kidney issues, I was very afraid for him. One night, as I was giving him a breathing treatment, I was praying for wisdom, fearing for his life. I cried out for mercy, and strength to take care of him. The next day, he began to take a turn for the better.
At the same time, I had been in a crisis with my Daddy. He had a heart attack last January, followed by a fall in June. He ended up in the hospital, then to rehab. While in rehab he got Covid. Back to the hospital, then home with hospice. He was bedridden, we had to use a lift to get him out of bed. We were able to care for him at his home for 3 months, I’m so thankful for that time with him. I was praying God would do a miracle and heal him, but he wasn’t healed. While I was at home with Covid, we had to have him moved to a nursing home. It broke my heart.
This was the end of October.
On November 9th, our oldest son, his wife and 3 children moved to Bozeman, Montana, 1852.1 miles away, a 27 hour drive. Never since our grandchildren came into the world, had we been away from them more than two weeks. I thought that was the way it would always be. I was wrong. I grieved the loss. No more birthdays, ballgames, piano recitals, I wouldn’t be there for grandparents day at school. I grieved it all, for days at a time I cried. I fell into the trap of self-pity, and the enemy loved it! He fed every self-pity thought, and I went deeper into despair.
I went to the Lord, asking why? I had loved Him, served Him, followed Him. Why did He allow all this. I was stripped of my health, my husband’s health, my Daddy, my family. We had major problems at work. It was all caving in. I felt completely vulnerable, afraid of what would come next. All the things I had put my hope and trust in were gone.
I was now facing back surgery.
On February 1, 2021, I got up and ran to My Father, My Heavenly Father. I cried for answers. I needed hope, I need help, I need direction, I needed Him!
“Call upon me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things you know not!” Jeremiah 33:3. And He answered me. Psalm 139:6-7 Angelia, I have beset you in behind and before, and laid My hand upon you. Where could I go from His Spirit? Where could I flee from His presence? He was with me. He always was. He saw every tear. He knew every pain. He felt it too. Because I am His child!
The Holy Spirit comforted me, strengthened me, and gave me perfect peace that day. No one else could ever have given me that! The next day, as I went to sleep before they operated on me, my last thought was, Angelia, I’m going to do exceedingly, abundantly, more than you could ever ask for or imagine. And He has. I’m able to walk again, and stand without pain, still healing, but so much better.
Through the stripping away, I’ve found what only God can give: peace in the storm. No matter what I face, He has been there. But it only came when I surrendered it all to Him. I said, “Lord all of this is Yours. I’m so blessed, what You choose to remove is for my good. I live for You, beneath Your wings I take refuge, until the disaster has passed!” (Psalm 57:1)
I have heard, when God is all you have, He is all you need. And it is true. In every storm lift up your eyes, He is there!